Liberty and the American Civil Liberties Union build “new special relationship” to protect civil rights

08 September 2006

The two leading transatlantic civil liberties groups will highlight the importance of upholding traditional freedoms to safeguard long-term national security. 
Liberty will express concern that in the five years following the human rights atrocity in the USA, the British government has passed anti-terror laws which deny fair trial rights, curb free speech and undermine the UK’s commitment to the prohibition of torture. Among these are new powers to detain terror suspects for 28 days before charge, the longest such detention period of any Western European country, which the US Attorney General recently promised to emulate.
Liberty Director Shami Chakrabarti said: 
“Over the last five years a special relationship once forged in defence of democracy has allowed the undermining of freedom in freedom’s name. This relationship can no longer be about the interests of individual politicians. It must be about ordinary people and their shared values.
Like our colleagues in the USA, we believe that only by upholding free speech, fair trials, privacy and other democratic freedoms can we save our nation from those who would destroy it.” 
American Civil Liberties Union Director Anthony Romero said:
"Since 9/11, the public images of the United States and the United Kingdom have been greatly diminished in the global community. The protection of human rights requires coordination across the Atlantic. We cannot be a beacon of democracy to the world if our governments continue to engage in illegal spying, torture and secrecy. Sacrificing the core tenets of our democracy is not the way to protect freedom. It is time to step up and ensure that the rule of law prevails."